Our mental health is at the core of every obstacle we face in life. A positive outlook, resilience, better habits, and self-compassion are just a few qualities life requires us to have and improve upon if we want to thrive.
Thankfully, one element is so deeply intertwined with our mental health that engaging in it also means strengthening the most valuable life skills we will ever need. This vital element that connects our mental and physical health is movement, and it has innumerable benefits for our minds and bodies.
Here are just a few ways that movement can help you take care of yourself:
1. Reduces Stress Levels
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by stress. High stress can lead to serious health problems such as anxiety, depression, and heart disease if left unchecked. Movement is an effective way to release tension, which in turn, helps reduce stress and improve your ability to handle it more effectively.
Try Walking or Running to Reduce Stress.
Sometimes all you need is some fresh air and sunshine. Add a little music or a podcast to center yourself and get some exercise at the same time. Walking is a simple and effective way to clear your head. If you’re up for picking up the pace, running is a great outlet for stress, anxiety, and frustration.
2. Releases Endorphins
Endorphins are hormones the brain releases in response to pain or stress to produce a pain-relieving effect and positively impact our mood. They can help reduce anxiety, ease depression, and improve overall well-being. Additionally, endorphins have been shown to help with weight management, increased energy levels, and improved sleep.
Try Yoga to Release endorphins.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to release endorphins. People often say they feel a “runner’s high” after a long run or workout. So, if you’re feeling stressed or down, go for a walk, swim, or do yoga.
Yoga, in particular, is an ideal way to get low-impact exercise while promoting mindfulness and relaxation. There are many styles of yoga to help you find one you enjoy and that allows you to feel physically better and emotionally lighter.
3. Improves Sleep Quality
Movement improves sleep quality by helping us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. We all know at this point that getting enough rest is crucial for physical and mental health. When well-rested, we’re better able to cope with stressors and make healthy decisions.
What’s more, movement can reduce daytime fatigue and increase alertness. Incorporating more movement – of any kind – into your day can help if you’re feeling groggy or lifeless during the day or tossing and turning at night.
Try Stretching to Improve Your Sleep Quality.
Stretching is a gentle form of movement that helps your body ease into relaxation mode, particularly before bedtime. Taking just 10-15 minutes to do some gentle stretches can improve your sleep quality and help you feel more rejuvenated in the morning. A few simple stretches – which you can do anytime, anywhere – can make a difference in how you feel physically and mentally.
The Importance of Movement in Women’s Recovery
Whether you’re overcoming addiction or other mental health struggles, it’s never easy. Women in mental health and addiction treatment have a lot on their plates. Developing healthy coping mechanisms, to deal with life’s stressors and bring in more joy, is an integral part of recovery.
That’s why it’s essential to have a support system in place; one of the most important members of that system is you. Taking care of yourself through movement, and all the benefits that come with it will help you stay physically and emotionally healthy. You are worth taking care of.
At Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, we encourage movement in recovery through our yoga classes, daily walks, and fitness centre. If you’re struggling with mental health and/or addiction, visit our website or call us today to learn more about our programs and how we can support you.